Simply put, Cockburn's Vintage Port is the best of the best — the best wine of one superior year blended from various vineyard sources. Aged two years in cask before bottling, vintage ports require at least 15 years of bottle aging.
Declaring a vintage is a weighty decision for port producers, as the company's reputation is largely determined by the quality and style of its vintage port (even though vintage declarations amount to only 1-3% of the total production in any year). Therefore, when Cockburn's declares a wine worthy of a vintage designation, the wine must be outstanding. Cockburn's has historically been more conservative than other port houses in declaring a vintage, choosing to declare only those years that best suit its elegant, less sweet style. Before declaring, Cockburn's blenders taste, categorize and identify those wines that might ultimately become a vintage blend. Only after this rigorous two-year selection process is a final decision made.